You are on page 1of 9

1 File No.

3 A resolution/ordinance by County Executive Abele, Supervisors Nicholson, Martin,
4 Haas, Moore Omokunde, Johnson, Jr., and Shea, creating Chapter 108, Achieving
5 Racial Equity and Health, in the Milwaukee County General Ordinance, by
6 recommending adoption of the following:
10 WHEREAS, according to Federal Reserve Economic Data, Milwaukee is one of
11 the most racially-segregated metropolitan statistical areas in the United States (U.S)
12 and, according to the 2019 County Health Rankings, Milwaukee County (the County) is
13 ranked 71 out of 72 counties for health in the State of Wisconsin (the State); and
15 WHEREAS, according to the State Department of Health Services (DHS), in
16 2019, a white person in the County lives, on average, nearly 14 years longer than a
17 black person; and
19 WHEREAS, the State DHS further reports that the infant mortality rate is nearly
20 three times higher for black infants versus white infants in the County, at 14.2 deaths
21 and 4.8 deaths per 1,000 births, respectively; and
23 WHEREAS, race is a social construction with no biologic basis, yet racism can
24 produce an assigned societal value based on the way a person looks; and
26 WHEREAS, race is a consistent predictor of a person’s quality and length of life,
27 in which black and brown communities have lower access to safe, quality:
28 • green spaces and recreation
29 • transportation
30 • healthcare and social services
31 • affordable housing
32 • education
33 • healthy food options
34 • clean drinking water
35 • financial security
37 ; and
39 WHEREAS, structural, institutional, and individual racism are root causes of the
40 racial disparities in the quality and length of life in the County; and
42 WHEREAS, structural racism is racial bias among interlocking institutions and
43 across society, causing cumulative and compounding effects that systematically
44 advantage white people and disadvantage black and brown people; and
46 WHEREAS, institutional racism includes policies, practices, and procedures that
47 work better for white people than for black and brown people, often unintentionally and
48 unconsciously; and
50 WHEREAS, structural and institutional racism deplete the strength of the entire
51 society through the inefficient use of human resources; and
53 WHEREAS, the lack of an intervention to right the wrongs of the past means that
54 health outcomes for black and brown communities have worsened and will continue to
55 worsen until government, including the County, and other institutions across the county,
56 identify and eliminate any inequitable policies, procedures, practices, and power
57 structures; and
59 WHEREAS, the County commits to supporting the Office on African American
60 Affairs (OAAA) by ensuring it is strategically positioned within County government to
61 assist with the development and institutionalization of racial equity tools to collaborate
62 with departments to assess and transform policies, procedures, practices, and power
63 structures to help the County become a place where all citizens are thriving; and
65 WHEREAS, OAAA has led the normalization of conversations about race and
66 racism at all levels of County government to facilitate institutional change and has
67 created a Racial Equity Ambassador program to begin transforming institutional
68 operations, as prescribed by the model from the Government Alliance on Race and
69 Equity; and
71 WHEREAS, in a unanimous decision by the Milwaukee County Board of
72 Supervisors and the County Executive, in May 2019 (File No. 19-397), the County was
73 the first governing jurisdiction in the U.S. to declare racism a public health crisis;
74 however, the County must not only have a challenge statement in its legislation, but
75 must also have a commitment to addressing the challenge, which is contained herein;
76 and
78 WHEREAS, while there is no epidemiologic definition of “crisis,” the health
79 impacts of racism clearly exemplify the definition proposed by experts, which is that the
80 “problem must affect large numbers of people, it must threaten health over the
81 long-term, and it must require the adoption of large-scale solutions;" and
83 WHEREAS, at the April 4, 2020, meeting of the Committee on Economic and
84 Community Development, the Director of Audits, Audit Services Division, Office
85 of the Comptroller, presented the findings from File No. 20-205, an audit titled
86 “Pulling Back the Curtain: A Look at Milwaukee County’s Workforce through
87 Racial and Gender Equity Lenses from 2009 to 2019;" and

89 WHEREAS, the audit, among several summary findings, found that there is
90 a significant gap between the pattern and practice in the County and the vision
91 outlined in the proposed Ordinance outlined below, and that there has been little
92 progress on racial equity in employment at the County over the last decade; and
94 WHEREAS, the audit found evidence to support its finding that “the racial
95 make-up of the County's workforce has seen minimal overall change since 2009”,
96 including:
97 • Black or African American employees had the lowest average
98 salary in three out of four years studied in the audit. In 2019,
99 Black or African American employees comprised 50 percent of
100 the County workforce earning in the bottom third of salaries and
101 only 11percent of the top 100 earners while being 31percent of the
102 County workforce.
104 • Hispanic or Latino employees saw the smallest growth in
105 earnings since 2009 at 12 percent while the countywide average
106 was 16 percent
108 ; and
110 WHEREAS, with this ordinance, the County resolves to commit to the long-term
111 priority of achieving racial equity and by assessing and revamping policies, procedures,
112 practices, and power structures using a racial equity lens to take down the barriers that
113 may exist for black and brown individuals and communities so that everyone in the
114 County can thrive; and
116 WHEREAS, the Committee on Health and Human Needs, at its special/virtual
117 meeting of April 17, 2020, recommended adoption as amended of File No. 20-174
118 (vote 5-0); now, therefore,
120 BE IT RESOLVED, to transform Milwaukee County (the County) government,
121 employees at all levels will first focus on solutions related to the following topics, which
122 directly address power structures and institutional practices contributing to racial health
123 disparities of County residents:
125 • Diverse and Inclusive Workforce: County leadership, management, and staff will
126 reflect the diversity of its residents to better represent the experiences and ideas of
127 the people it serves. The County resolves to build a collaborative, supportive,
128 respectful workplace environment that increases the participation and contribution of
129 all employees.

131 • Employee Perspective: To enhance the health of County residents, County
132 government should strive to ensure that services meet everyone’s needs.
133 Thousands of County employees directly serve residents each day and their
134 perspectives should be more intentionally considered to continually improve the
135 equity of policies, procedures, practices, and power structures.
136 • Customer-Focused Design: A “customer” is defined as an individual who
137 currently uses or could use County services; customers may include County
138 residents, visitors to the County, or County employees. Government services
139 should meet the needs of its customers. Redesigning what, where, and how
140 services are provided to meet customer needs should be undertaken with
141 customer participation. Defining customer populations and including those
142 customer groups in the design and decision-making of services will help ensure
143 that government services are meeting the needs of those using, or who could be
144 using, County services. To this end, the County must focus on purposeful and
145 meaningful community engagement on the front-end and throughout the process
146 of decision making, which will produce more appropriate and equitable power-
147 sharing between experts working in the government and the customers of County
148 services.
149 • Improved Performance and Equitable Practice: County government must
150 improve the quality of the data it collects and the analysis of that data to better
151 understand the impact of services on customers. It is not enough to assume that
152 a service is producing its intended outcome; the County should use qualitative
153 and quantitative data to assess impact and continuously improve where services
154 are falling short in order to improve the quality of life for all residents.
155 • Fiscal Health: Over the past decade, the County has cut between $20 and $30
156 million annually due to the structural deficit and has accumulated hundreds of
157 millions of dollars in deferred maintenance. Because of decisions made decades
158 ago and the restrictive authority given to local governments to generate new
159 sources of revenue, the County and municipal governments are forced to make
160 decisions about cuts to services and repairs each year that can impact the health
161 of County residents. The County must find sustainable revenue sources and
162 continue to pursue organizational efficiencies so the County government can
163 make meaningful investments to advance racial equity.
165 ; and
167 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, every employee is responsible for the
168 implementation of this resolution/ordinance, and developing skills and capacities to
169 create and maintain a culture in which employees recognize and respect the diverse
170 values, beliefs, and behaviors in the workforce and the community they serve; and
172 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, to address systemic racism affecting County
173 residents, County government commits to engaging municipalities and institutions within
174 the County to prioritize racial equity to address structural racism producing disparate
175 population health outcomes; and

177 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, by achieving racial equity, the County will
178 eliminate health and opportunity gaps along racial lines, and will increase the success of
179 all groups by distributing resources justly across all communities; and
180 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors
181 hereby creates Chapter 108 “Achieving Racial Equity and Health” of the Milwaukee
182 County Code of General Ordinances by adopting the following:
186 The County Board of Supervisors of the County of Milwaukee does ordain as follows:
188 SECTION 1. Chapter 108 “Achieving Racial Equity and Health” of the Milwaukee
189 County Code of General Ordinances is hereby created as follows:
191 108.01 – Achieving Racial Equity and Health.
193 Racism has been and is a public health crisis in Milwaukee County. According to
194 the County Health Rankings, Milwaukee County is, and has consistently been, one of
195 the lowest-ranked counties for health in Wisconsin and, according to Federal Reserve
196 Economic Data, Milwaukee County is one of our nation's most racially segregated
197 areas. According to 2019 statistics, a white person lives, on average, nearly 14 years
198 longer than a black person and the infant mortality rate is nearly three (3) times higher
199 for black infants compared to white infants. Race is a social construction with no
200 biologic basis, yet racism may produce an assigned societal value based on the way a
201 person looks that has resulted in race being a consistent predictor of a person’s quality
202 and length of life. With this ordinance, Milwaukee County government declares its
203 commitment to achieving racial equity by identifying and eliminating any racism in its
204 institutional policies, procedures, practices, and power structures for black and brown
205 individuals and communities so everyone in Milwaukee County can thrive.
207 108.02 – County Strategic Priority, Mission, Vision, and Values.
209 1. The institutionalization of racial equity in the County’s mission, vision, values, and
210 services are of the utmost priority. Milwaukee County government declares that:
211 a. Racism has been, is, and will continue to be, a public health crisis until
212 race is no longer a predictor of quality or length of life in Milwaukee
213 County.
214 b. The vision of the County be: “By achieving racial equity, Milwaukee is the
215 healthiest county in Wisconsin.”
216 c. The mission of the County be: “We enhance the quality of life in
217 Milwaukee County through great public service.”
218 d. The values guiding the culture of the County workforce be:
219 i. Respect: We work with and for others.
220 ii. Integrity: We do the right thing.
221 iii. Excellence: We never stop improving.

223 108.03 – Guiding Framework and Strategic Objectives to Achieve the County’s Vision.
224 1. Milwaukee County adopts the “Health and Equity Framework,” adapted from the
225 Wisconsin Population Health Institute’s model, as its guiding framework for
226 addressing the root causes of institutional and systemic racism. The framework
227 first directs that influencing the “Power to Make Change” is the most sustainable
228 and transformational way to affect racial equity and health in the County
229 population. The second key area that the framework directs focus to is
230 “Institutional Practices,” which entails identifying and eliminating any racial biases
231 in governmental practices. By addressing these two causal areas of racial and
232 health inequities, Milwaukee County will make huge strides in advancing its
233 vision of achieving racial equity and being the healthiest county in Wisconsin.

236 2. To this end, Milwaukee County government declares that it will achieve the
237 following objectives, which directly affect "Power to Make Change” and
238 “Institutional Practices”:
239 a. Diverse and Inclusive Workforce:
240 1. Milwaukee County leadership, management, and staff will reflect
241 the demographics (including, but not exclusively racial) of
242 Milwaukee County.
243 2. Milwaukee County will have an inclusive workplace culture where
244 differences are welcomed, where different perspectives are heard,
245 and where individuals feel a sense of safety and belonging.

246 3. Employees will understand what skills and experience are expected
247 to advance to the next level and will have opportunities to gain
248 those skills and experiences.
249 b. Employee Perspective:
250 1. Milwaukee County leaders and management will regularly consult
251 and problem solve with a racially diverse representation of frontline
252 staff to inform equitable policy, process, and customer service
253 delivery decisions.
254 c. Customer-Focused Design:
255 1. Milwaukee County will determine what services we offer and how
256 money is spent based on robust, diverse public participation.
257 2. Milwaukee County will determine where services are offered based
258 on robust, diverse public participation.
259 3. Milwaukee County will determine how services are offered based
260 on robust, diverse public participation.
261 d. Improved Performance and Equitable Practice:
262 1. Milwaukee County will monitor and evaluate the impact and equity
263 of all services on customers and will use data to continuously
264 improve.
265 2. Milwaukee County will be held accountable by external partners
266 and community members for progress and results on the strategic
267 plan.
268 e. Fiscal Health:
269 1. Milwaukee County will secure additional revenue and achieve cost
270 savings each year to be able to cover existing operating costs.
271 2. Milwaukee County will identify and implement mechanisms to make
272 investments into strategic priorities to achieve the objectives
273 outlined above.
274 3. Milwaukee County declares that it will, at a minimum, use racial equity tools to
275 evaluate the impact of decisions on black and brown communities for the
276 following enterprise-wide areas:
277 • The budget
278 • Processes, policies, and procedures
279 4. Milwaukee County declares that it will continue to offer trainings to support racial
280 equity work at all employee levels.
281 5. Milwaukee County declares that every informational and action report that is
282 submitted to the County Board will incorporate the impact on the vision and
283 connection to racial equity and the strategic objectives.
284 6. Milwaukee County declares that it will create and maintain an external website
285 dedicated to racial equity and health work at the County.
286 7. Milwaukee County declares that it will create and maintain an intranet site
287 dedicated to racial equity and health work at the County.

290 108.04 – Key Stakeholder Roles and Responsibilities.
292 1. The County directs that the stakeholders below will carry out the described roles
293 and responsibilities in support of the successful execution of the strategic
294 objectives outlined in this ordinance:
295 a. County Leaders, Managers, and Staff: Leaders are accountable for the
296 success of the objectives outlined above to advance racial equity in
297 Milwaukee County. Furthermore, every employee is responsible for the
298 implementation of this resolution/ordinance and developing skills and
299 capacities to create and maintain a culture in which employees recognize
300 and respect the diverse values, beliefs, and behaviors in the workforce
301 and the community they serve.
302 b. Office on African American Affairs: The Office provides guidance,
303 education, research, and technical assistance to support the County vision
304 and strategic planning priorities.
305 c. Strategic Plan Advisory Council: Milwaukee County declares that it will
306 create a Strategic Plan Advisory Council. The Advisory Council shall
307 provide both input on and support for the implementation of solutions
308 designed to advance Milwaukee County’s vision of achieving racial equity
309 and becoming the healthiest county in Wisconsin. The Advisory Council
310 shall consist of eleven (11) representatives:
311 i. One (1) chairperson, who must be a Milwaukee County employee
312 and shall be nominated by the County Executive and approved by
313 the County Board Chairperson.
314 ii. Three (3) County Board Supervisors selected by the County Board
315 Chairperson.
316 iii. One (1) Elected Official from the District Attorney’s Office, the Chief
317 Judge’s Office, the Clerk of Courts, or the Milwaukee County
318 Sheriff’s Office, who will be nominated by the County Executive and
319 approved by the Chairperson of the County Board of Supervisors;
320 in the event that none of these elected officials serve on the
321 Advisory Council, their seat will be filled by an additional external
322 partner, following the same rules as outlined in 108.04 (1)(c)(viii).
323 iv. One (1) Elected Official from the Register of Deeds Office, the
324 Office of the Comptroller, the Office of the County Clerk, or the
325 Office of the Treasurer, who will be nominated by the County
326 Executive and approved by the Chairperson of the County Board of
327 Supervisors; in the event that none of these elected officials serve
328 on the Advisory Council, their seat will be filled by an additional
329 external partner, following the same rules as outlined in
330 108.04 (1)(c)(viii).
331 v. The Director of the Office on African American Affairs.
332 vi. Two (2) Department Directors selected by the County Executive.

333 vii. One (1) non-supervisory Racial Equity Ambassador selected by the
334 Office on African American Affairs and approved by the
335 Ambassador’s Department Director.
336 viii. One (1) community member, who will be nominated by the County
337 Executive and approved by the Chairperson of the County Board of
338 Supervisors.
339 The composition of the Advisory Council shall be assembled with diversity
340 at the front of mind.
342 The Advisory Council shall convene at least once each quarter, or four
343 times annually. In addition to monitoring the County’s progress toward
344 realizing the objectives outlined in the County’s strategic plan, the
345 Advisory Council shall provide input and support for overcoming obstacles
346 encountered by County employees working to advance the plan.
347 As appropriate, the Advisory Council shall provide input on the refinement
348 and implementation of the strategic plan. Recommendations for significant
349 changes to the plan (for example, changes to wording of the objectives, or
350 reallocating employee time or County resources to achieve the objectives)
351 shall require a written recommendation to both the County Executive and
352 the County Board Chair for consideration and approval.
354 The Director of Strategic Planning and the County Board Chairperson’s
355 Chief of Staff or their designees shall jointly prepare the agenda and
356 materials for the meetings. One or both of individuals shall (co-)facilitate
357 each meeting.
360 SECTION 2. The provisions of this Ordinance shall become effective upon passage and
361 publication.
364 ars
365 04/17/20
366 S:\Committees\2020\April\HHN 041720 Special Meeting\Resolutions\20-174 Racial Equity Resolution Ordinance.docx